Basics of Mixology: Grenadine

PAMA_bottleToday’s post is sponsored by PAMA liqueur.  Follow @PAMAPros on Twitter!

These days, customers expect that their cocktails will be made with fresh citrus, high quality spirits, and often hand-crafted syrups, bitters and mixers.  So, when it comes to choosing what you put in your cocktails, it makes sense to go the extra mile and use all-natural ingredients whenever possible.

Pomegranate is a flavor that has been used in cocktails for over a century, although many bartenders many not know it.  Pomegranate syrup is more commonly known as grenadine. The use of grenadine in cocktails dates back to the 1890’s, starting as a substitute for raspberry syrup, and by the 1920’s took over from its berry cousin entirely.  Classics such as the Jack Rose, the Bacardi Cocktail and often the Clover Club, utilize grenadine.  One particular favorite of mine, The Hurricane, calls for grenadine, but very few bars actually include it in their recipes.

Even NOLA’s Pat O’Brien’s which debuted the drink in the 1940’s no longer makes the Hurricane from scratch, but instead uses a powdered drink mix.  The most authentic you can find today in the French Quarter is served at the oldest bar, Lafitte’s.  They use real pomegranate syrup. The difference is discernible.

Traditionally, grenadine (from the word grenade, which looks a lot like a pomegranate) gives cocktails a red color, a slightly tart and fruity flavor, as well as adding some sweetness from the sugar.  However, most grenadine syrups on the market today don’t even use real pomegranate juice in their product. One look at the ingredients listed on a typical bottle found in your local grocery store will reveal that it is usually a conglomeration of corn syrup, artificial flavor and color with an unappetizingly named preservative.

Several years ago, I made the switch to making my own grenadine from fresh fruit and Demerara sugar.  When PAMA was introduced in 2006, I quickly became a convert to the liqueur when I discovered that mixing a 50/50 blend of homemade grenadine syrup and PAMA gave my drinks extra texture, depth of flavor and rich pomegranate character. PAMA is all natural, made with California pomegranate juice in addition to a blend of vodka and tequila to bring it up to 34 proof and keep it stable.

As autumn approaches, I feel that a fruit based cocktail is a perfect way to transition from one season to another.  Below is a recipe for Sangria that is all-natural and includes PAMA to give it some extra pizzazz.

PAMA Sangria5c5b752dc7d3e0cd992573daca4b711e
Glass: White Wine
Garnish: Apple Slice, Orange Wheel, Pomegranate Seeds

1 oz. PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
1 oz. Brandy (I recommend a VSOP cognac)
3 oz. White Wine (I prefer a Pinot Grigio)
1/2 oz. Triple Sec (Cointreau is recommended)
1 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
club soda

Method: Combine all ingredients except club soda and wine in a shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into glass filled with ice and wine. Top with club soda and garnish.

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